Cornwall

St Michael's Mount: Picturesque island needs new gardener

St Michael's Mount Image copyright St Michael's Mount

A picturesque Cornish island with its own castle is looking for a new head gardener.

The successful applicant will be "hands-on" with plenty of previous experience and the agility of a "mountain goat".

The job on St Michael's Mount comes with its own house in the village and the chance to become part of the "friendly island community".

Duties include abseiling down the castle to care for its exotic garden.

Situated 500 yards off the coast of Cornwall, St Michael's Mount is reached by ferry boats which run between Marazion and the island's harbour.

A causeway, which is submerged under water at high tide, is the only land route between the island and the mainland.

St Michael's Mount Image copyright St Michael's Mount

"Gardening on a rock in the middle of the sea isn't for the faint-hearted, nor is abseiling from the battlements of a castle," the job listing reads.

"But the garden team on St Michael's Mount take all this in their stride as well as the general terrain which would challenge the most agile mountain goat."

It adds: "Beyond the physical challenges, the garden team are passionate about the island's unique garden and continue to develop the plant collection using species that thrive in one of the UK's most challenging environments."

St Michael's Mount Image copyright St Michael's Mount

Current gardener Lottie Allen, 38, has been in the role for five years but is leaving in September for a "new challenge" at Hidcote Manor Gardens in the Cotswolds.

"My favourite place is the top of the terraces, looking down through the gardens and seeing the developments we've made," she said.

"The job is logistically a challenge, but it's amazingly rewarding in terms of the plant collection and the overall look of the gardens.

"I will miss everything about this job."

St Michael's Mount Image copyright St Michael's Mount

Legend has it the castle was built by a giant called Cormoran who would go ashore to raid livestock from local farms.

A reward was offered in return for killing the giant and a young boy called Jack slayed the beast and became a local hero.

He was subsequently hailed as "Jack the Giant Killer".

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The island takes its name from St Michael who supposedly appeared to a group of fishermen in 495 AD.

The oldest surviving buildings date from the 12th Century, when a Benedictine priory was founded there.

Following the English Civil War, the island was acquired by the St Aubyn family, who still live in the castle.

St Michael's Mount Image copyright St Michael's Mount

In 1954 the family went into partnership with the National Trust and the castle and its grounds were opened to the public.

It now attracts over 65,000 visitors from April to September.

The Mount is home to about 30 residents, has its own church, ancient harbour and gardens full of exotic flora.

The closing date for applications is 7 June with interviews later in the month.

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